Tuesday, January 8, 2019
Clemson football players touched down at the Greenville-Spartanburg International Airport tonight just a day after claiming the national championship title over Alabama.
Fans at home are celebrating the big win today.
“As far as we're concerned, it's God's country," said John Cagle, a former Clemson football player.
John "Bull" Cagle was born into a football family.
"As was my father and my uncle before me; all three of us playing under the legendary coach Frank Howard," said Cagle.
During Cagle's father's college career, he was sent out into Death Valley with a hatchet by Coach Howard as punishment.
"He was not only able to help build it but was able to be among the first to play in memorial stadium when it first went into operation in 1942," said Cagle.
Cagle's dad was among the first group to start the clearing process for the land that is used for Clemson's home games, even today.
25-years later, Cagle recalls Coach Howard complaining about a rock they found in the valley, which Howard used as a doorstop in his office. That rock would become the one player's touch before every home game they play.
"It is always a part of our life, regardless of whether it's football season or not," said Cagle.
During his time, Cagle's teams won the ACC championship back to back to back. He says he's even more proud of today's players, who have brought the program its second national title in three years.
"Unbelievably grateful and thankful that we have head Coach Dabo Sweeney with us now. To see the foundation from my father's day to my day all the way to today's day and age. It's really fun watching the program grown and Clemson is turning into a real power," said Cagle.
John, his dad, and his uncle all have bricks dedicated to them, which are cemented in the ground at the top of the hill the players run down in death valley.
Cagle says he and many other former players are planning to attend the championship parade in Clemson coming up on Saturday.